Sunday, December 05, 2004

ALL HAIL THE UNSCRIPTED SITCOM

Initially, I was disappointed that Charmed was a rerun and that Desperate Housewives wasn’t even on at all. But then…then I found two of my favorite shows on back to back. They're both unscripted sitcoms, and although you might think it's weird for a writer to recommend a comedy that has no script, you must remember that I'm also a big fan of improv--essentially, the actors are writing the scene as they perform it. I laughed myself off my sofa.

Say the names with me, people, so you don’t ever forget them:
Arrested Development, 8:30 on FOX.
Significant Others, 9pm on Bravo.

“I’ve got Pop-Pop in the attic.”
-- On an escaped criminal paterfamilias, Arrested Development

People have been telling me to watch Arrested Development ever since it first premiered. But I figured, Jason Bateman? (I remember It’s Your Move…and Teen Wolf Too...) And how can I abandon the Charmed Ones? Turns out, it’s very easy. Hilarious situations, intensely real dialogue, confounded looks from every member of the family at some point during each episode, and laugh out loud humor that makes me want to drop everything and run to Hollywood to audition for this show.

“It’s a magic room, filled with love.”
--On the “adult” section in a video store, Significant Others

Loved it back in March when I first saw it, then it vanished from the Bravo schedule. I’m not gonna lie, one of the reasons I like it is because it portrays the fact that not all couples are happy go-lucky sunshine and flowers all the time. It tells the stories of several couples in therapy: each partner tries to cope with their partner’s not-insubstantial bizarreness, and tries to remain unabashedly themselves. The frustration between the sexes that plagues us as singles apparently continues even after the wedding itself. And for some reason, I find that comforting. He who makes me laugh every time? Herschel Bleefeld as Ethan. (Dude, I think I love you. And your name is Herschel. Which makes you, in my book, Jewlicious. Or at least Jewriffic.)

As I noted, these shows are largely unscripted--storylines are set but the dialogue is improvised. The result is dialogue and character relationships that are more spontaneous, more truthful, and infinitely more hilarious. Try 'em, you'll like 'em.

8 Comments:

At 10:48 PM, December 05, 2004, Blogger Hilary said...

I second what Esther said. Both of those shows are GREAT. Go. Watch. Now.

 
At 12:09 AM, December 06, 2004, Blogger Vendelascity said...

I watch entirely too much t.v. (when I'm not trolling Jdate for a suitable mate). I agree with your selections (the writing on these shows is outstanding) but I *really* need to get out of the house more!

 
At 1:32 AM, December 06, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I've never seen Significant Others, but I LOVE Arrested Development. And I hate sitcoms. Hell, I barely even watch TV. But I'll tell you, the first time I saw Arrested Development, I was just flipping through some channels, and came across it. I was literally mesmerized. I could not tear myself away from it. I think I watched half the episode standing up, immobilized (except for my mouth which was uttering forth laughter). I just remember the only thought going through my head at the time was an incredulous, "What IS this?!" I knew nothing about the show at that point, but loved every second, including the absolutely STELLAR cast, the rapid pacing, and the multiple laughs. WATCH IT!

Sorry for the long rave, but I'm a believer.

Peace.
Fun Joel

 
At 11:32 AM, December 06, 2004, Blogger Erinna said...

I've never seen Significant Others, but Arrested Development? Fabulous. (I had no idea it wasn't scripted...)

I was *dying* during last night's episode. When George Michael was doing his downcast walk w/the Peanuts music playing? And he walked by the big red doghouse w/the dog sleeping on top? Priceless.

Oh, and this exchange:

"I have pop-pop in the attic."

"If that's how you refer to making love, you're clearly not ready."

BWAH!

 
At 6:25 PM, December 06, 2004, Blogger PetiteDov said...

I love Arrested Development...as for Jason Bateman, i think he was my first crush..he did some sitcom, Hogan's Family, dreamy. I still have a soft spot for him. I just wanted to say that although the show seems unscripted it is actually carefully scripted.

 
At 7:14 PM, December 06, 2004, Blogger Gooch said...

Wouldn't it be great if Eli from "It's Your Move" did a cameo?

 
At 10:49 AM, December 07, 2004, Blogger Princess Anonymous said...

Arrested Development Rules! The whole Tobias / Blue Man thing just cracks me up. I have 3 tivoed episodes just waiting to be watched - so psyched!

 
At 10:23 AM, December 08, 2004, Blogger Andrea said...

Arrested Development is one of my two favourite sitcoms (Scrubs is the other). The season 1 DVD is on my wishlist. I have all of those episodes but not in DVD format with the nice, shiny package.

I'm not sure we get Signficant Others in Canada- or even on a Buffalo affiliate- but I'll have to look for it.

When I saw the pre-season promos for Desperate Housewives I thought I'd hate it. I was wrong. At first I hated myself for not hating it, then I made peace with it.

 

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My Urban Kvetch: ALL HAIL THE UNSCRIPTED SITCOM

Sunday, December 05, 2004

ALL HAIL THE UNSCRIPTED SITCOM

Initially, I was disappointed that Charmed was a rerun and that Desperate Housewives wasn’t even on at all. But then…then I found two of my favorite shows on back to back. They're both unscripted sitcoms, and although you might think it's weird for a writer to recommend a comedy that has no script, you must remember that I'm also a big fan of improv--essentially, the actors are writing the scene as they perform it. I laughed myself off my sofa.

Say the names with me, people, so you don’t ever forget them:
Arrested Development, 8:30 on FOX.
Significant Others, 9pm on Bravo.

“I’ve got Pop-Pop in the attic.”
-- On an escaped criminal paterfamilias, Arrested Development

People have been telling me to watch Arrested Development ever since it first premiered. But I figured, Jason Bateman? (I remember It’s Your Move…and Teen Wolf Too...) And how can I abandon the Charmed Ones? Turns out, it’s very easy. Hilarious situations, intensely real dialogue, confounded looks from every member of the family at some point during each episode, and laugh out loud humor that makes me want to drop everything and run to Hollywood to audition for this show.

“It’s a magic room, filled with love.”
--On the “adult” section in a video store, Significant Others

Loved it back in March when I first saw it, then it vanished from the Bravo schedule. I’m not gonna lie, one of the reasons I like it is because it portrays the fact that not all couples are happy go-lucky sunshine and flowers all the time. It tells the stories of several couples in therapy: each partner tries to cope with their partner’s not-insubstantial bizarreness, and tries to remain unabashedly themselves. The frustration between the sexes that plagues us as singles apparently continues even after the wedding itself. And for some reason, I find that comforting. He who makes me laugh every time? Herschel Bleefeld as Ethan. (Dude, I think I love you. And your name is Herschel. Which makes you, in my book, Jewlicious. Or at least Jewriffic.)

As I noted, these shows are largely unscripted--storylines are set but the dialogue is improvised. The result is dialogue and character relationships that are more spontaneous, more truthful, and infinitely more hilarious. Try 'em, you'll like 'em.

8 Comments:

At 10:48 PM, December 05, 2004, Blogger Hilary said...

I second what Esther said. Both of those shows are GREAT. Go. Watch. Now.

 
At 12:09 AM, December 06, 2004, Blogger Vendelascity said...

I watch entirely too much t.v. (when I'm not trolling Jdate for a suitable mate). I agree with your selections (the writing on these shows is outstanding) but I *really* need to get out of the house more!

 
At 1:32 AM, December 06, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I've never seen Significant Others, but I LOVE Arrested Development. And I hate sitcoms. Hell, I barely even watch TV. But I'll tell you, the first time I saw Arrested Development, I was just flipping through some channels, and came across it. I was literally mesmerized. I could not tear myself away from it. I think I watched half the episode standing up, immobilized (except for my mouth which was uttering forth laughter). I just remember the only thought going through my head at the time was an incredulous, "What IS this?!" I knew nothing about the show at that point, but loved every second, including the absolutely STELLAR cast, the rapid pacing, and the multiple laughs. WATCH IT!

Sorry for the long rave, but I'm a believer.

Peace.
Fun Joel

 
At 11:32 AM, December 06, 2004, Blogger Erinna said...

I've never seen Significant Others, but Arrested Development? Fabulous. (I had no idea it wasn't scripted...)

I was *dying* during last night's episode. When George Michael was doing his downcast walk w/the Peanuts music playing? And he walked by the big red doghouse w/the dog sleeping on top? Priceless.

Oh, and this exchange:

"I have pop-pop in the attic."

"If that's how you refer to making love, you're clearly not ready."

BWAH!

 
At 6:25 PM, December 06, 2004, Blogger PetiteDov said...

I love Arrested Development...as for Jason Bateman, i think he was my first crush..he did some sitcom, Hogan's Family, dreamy. I still have a soft spot for him. I just wanted to say that although the show seems unscripted it is actually carefully scripted.

 
At 7:14 PM, December 06, 2004, Blogger Gooch said...

Wouldn't it be great if Eli from "It's Your Move" did a cameo?

 
At 10:49 AM, December 07, 2004, Blogger Princess Anonymous said...

Arrested Development Rules! The whole Tobias / Blue Man thing just cracks me up. I have 3 tivoed episodes just waiting to be watched - so psyched!

 
At 10:23 AM, December 08, 2004, Blogger Andrea said...

Arrested Development is one of my two favourite sitcoms (Scrubs is the other). The season 1 DVD is on my wishlist. I have all of those episodes but not in DVD format with the nice, shiny package.

I'm not sure we get Signficant Others in Canada- or even on a Buffalo affiliate- but I'll have to look for it.

When I saw the pre-season promos for Desperate Housewives I thought I'd hate it. I was wrong. At first I hated myself for not hating it, then I made peace with it.

 

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